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Reinventions: Nest Learning Thermostat
January 24, 2013 6:00 PM EST

I was designing a home in Lake Tahoe for my family. I wanted to make the greenest, most connected home I knew of. Then I stumbled on this thermostat problem. It’s an important device that no one knows is important. It’s ugly, and it’s hard to use. Only 11 percent are programmed to save any energy, even though they control the use of 50 percent to 60 percent of the total energy in your home. It was a market that had been totally commoditized, zero innovation. It’s like time was frozen 30 years ago. I thought: This is too good to be true. There’s a quarter-billion thermostats in the U.S. that’ll need an upgrade over the next decade. We thought it was just going to be tech enthusiasts that were going to be our main customers, but we’re seeing demand across the board—designers, Realtors staging homes, families buying them for their elders. — Tony Fadell, founder and CEO of Nest Labs, former Apple senior VP, and “Father of the iPod”